Why not? What was wrong with Dr. Clarence O. Pruitt? He had graduated from the University of Oregon Dental School in 1954; he had served in the U. S. Air Force for two years as a dental officer; and when he was done serving his country, he was appointed as instructor in the dental school's crown and bridge department. Wasn't that enough? Then what was wrong?
Dr. Pruitt and fellow staff member of the dental school, Dr. Larry Lundeen (by the way, Dr. Lundeen was white) proposed to open a shared office in the building. When Dr. Pruitt made application, building manager, Gerard Macnamara, rejected his proposal on the grounds that it was building policy not to rent to a "negro". Yep. That's what he said.
The building had been built by a group of physicians and dentists who held, along with family, all of stock in the building and they had made this a policy. A black man had never asked to occupy a space in the building before, said Macnamara, and this was the first time that he had turned down an application on the basis of race.
The Portland District Dental Society heard about the incident and passed a resolution that condemned the owners of any building that refused space to any member of society based on race or religion.
The Urban League reported that Dr. Lundeen, who was anxious to get his practice started, opened his practice with another dentist.
Dr. Pruitt practiced in Portland for many years and was always a champion of diversity.